Palm trees in the wind
Gusts of fierce wind sway palm trees. Photo via Pixabay.

A spell of blustery Santa Ana winds coupled with a significant warming trend will heighten San Diego-area wildfire hazards — potentially to near-critical levels — for the remainder of the work week, meteorologists advised Wednesday.

The strongest of the expected dry air currents out of the east and northeast Thursday and Friday will occur along and near local coastal slopes of the region’s mountains and below passes and canyons, with the strongest gusts reaching speeds of about 45 mph, according to the National Weather Service.

Over the period, temperatures west of the mountains will be 10 to 20 degrees above seasonal norms through Saturday. Atmospheric humidity in inland areas will fall to 15% to 20% on Thursday and Friday, and to 10% to 15% on Saturday, forecasters said.

The Santa Ana conditions are predicted to weaken and become less widespread Friday afternoon and Saturday, with cooler but still above-average temperatures and increasing humidity by Sunday and into early next week.

City News Service contributed to this article.